Dr. Wade Thomas Batson, Jr. of Marietta, South Carolina, husband of the late Josephine Elizabeth McDaniel Batson, passed Saturday, February 14, 2015, in Greenville, South Carolina.
Born on May 7, 1912 in Marietta, South Carolina, he was the son of the late William Thomas and Mary Lenora Hendricks Batson of Marietta.
He is survived by his daughter, Marietta Lenora Moore (Oren) and his son, Wade Thomas Batson, III (Delaney), nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren, and Pace, his ever constant little canine companion.
His mother was his first teacher. He continued his education at Mars Hill, the University of Tennessee and Furman. He entered the U.S. Navy during WWII as First Lieutenant. He served on the USS Irwin Russell as second in command in the North Atlantic. At the end of the war, he was commissioned as Lieutenant Commander and served as a Naval Separations Officer, discharging sailors on both East and West coasts.
In 1948 he entered Duke University, receiving both a M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Botany. Dr. Batson began teaching at the University of South Carolina in 1952, teaching both Biology and Botany for thirty years. He authored twelve books on plants, the first being Wildflowers in S.C., and wrote over forty articles in scientific journals.
A respected and beloved professor, Dr. Batson, received many accolades during his lifetime, 1966 Voted One of Three Outstanding Professors by USC Students; 1968 Meritorious Award for Teaching by the Association of Southeastern Biologists; 1968 Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, USC; 1976 Education Conservationist of the Year- S.C. Wildlife Federation; 1982 Order of the Palmetto Award presented by S.C. Governor Richard Riley who hosted his Retirement Party at the Governor’s Mansion; 1994 Inducted into the S.C. Hall of Fame; 1995 inducted into the S.C. Hall of Science and Technology; 1995 Honorary Doctorate of Science Award- Medical University of S.C.; 2002 Wade T. Batson Endowment, University of South Carolina and Clemson; 2004 Honorary Life Member of the USC Alumni Association; 2011 Legends of Conservation Award- S.C. Carolina Wildlife Federation. Endowments have been made in his honor at USC and Clemson.
At the celebration of his 100th birthday at his home Gray Gables, Senator Mike Fair presented a Resolution from the SC General Assembly to honor the distinguished career of this great South Carolinian. Furman established a wildflower garden on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in his honor. The SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism presented him the State Park Award, one of three ever presented.
Funeral services will be held for Dr. Batson on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 11 a.m. at The Howze Mortuary Chapel with visitation prior from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Wade T. Batson Herbarium Fund in care of John Nelson, USC.
Online condolences may be expressed here.